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2003 Spring Newsletter

Beauty Newsletter

How young is too young for Plastic Surgery?

What are the surgeries a plastic surgeon will and won't do on young patients?

For more than 20 years, Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr.Frederic Corbin has been seeing young women concerned with their appearances. He has been hearing girls revealing what they consider their beauty flaws. Some say, my hips are too big, my nose has a bump on it, my breasts are too small, my ears stick out, my stomach is fat, my lips are too thin, my skin is bad…..

The ideals of beauty are different from country to country and year to year. These images are always changing and young patients are always curious about enhancing their appearance. Dr. Corbin receives E-mails and calls from parents and teen girls as young as 13 to 18 who what plastic surgery.
With images of young teen idols with flawless skin, cute noses, full lips, beautiful features and curvaceous, fit bodies influencing teens it is no wonder that some teens are considering a trip to a plastic surgeons office.

When a young woman comes in to my office with a photo of Britney Spears or some other teen idol and tells me they want to have a nose like Britney’s, it is my job to educate them on what can and can’t be accomplished with surgery. If the patient is under the age of 18 the parents and I have a responsibility to do what is in the minor’s best interest and sometimes this means no plastic surgery.

I have had a parent bring in a 12 year old for liposuction and a 15 year old for bags under their eyes. In both these cases I recommended they wait until they are 18. And in the case of the young girl wanting liposuction I recommended diet and exercise.

"No one is perfect", says Dr. Corbin." I even see models who are portrayed as the ideal images of beauty and they get little beauty tune ups from time to time. Some patients get a little collagen before a photo shoot or a breast augmentation to make their body more proportionate which may also help boost their modeling career."

Generally, Dr. Corbin recommends patients wait until they are 18 before they make any major perm ant changes to their appearance. The only plastic surgery he may recommend doing at a young age is, nasal deformities, prominent ears, breast deformities, and a few other congenital deformities like cleft lip and pallet corrections or other facial deformities.

Dr. Corbin has operated on young women who have breast deformities with one breast much larger than the other and through reconstructive surgery he corrected the size difference. Reconstructive surgery has changed many lives. These patients now feel good about themselves and the way they look and are not ridiculed and teased because of their physical differences.

Dr. Corbin performs otoplasties (ear surgeries) on teens with ears that were too big or that stick out. Sometimes after years of being teased and embarrassed, ear surgery can have a dramatic effect on patients self esteem.

Parents have given their children a nose job or breast augmentation as a graduation gift. Once the patient has turned 18. One parent says, "I gave my daughter a nose job as a gift because I want her to be as confident as possible before she goes off to college.Young girls can be very self conscious about the way they look and I did not want her to feel that way. When she first mentioned to me that she wanted to change her nose I wanted her to wait until she was older, but after several discussion we researched surgeons and made an appointment with Dr. Corbin. My daughter is a good girl who works hard in school and we want to give her every opportunity in life."

One father paid for his daughter’s breast augmentation for her 18th birthday. His daughter says," I always wanted bigger breasts. I used to get teased at school all the time. They called me the president of the IBTC (itty bitty titty club.) They also used to say I was a pirates dream, a sunken chest. These comments hurt my feelings. I first went to see Dr. Corbin with my mom when I was 17. When Dr. Corbin told me that he would not operate on me until I was 18 I cried. I waited until the day after my 18th birthday to have my surgery. I could not be happier with my results! I feel so fortunate that my family supported me. They are always there for me."

Angela a teen daughter of a doctor and nurse had her nasal deformity corrected over her summer holidays. "My mom is a nurse and my dad is a doctor so I understood that the decision to have surgery was an important decision. I wanted my nose to look natural like I was born with it. After healing over the summer, I went back to school and no one knew I had surgery. It was nice to be able to breathe and it was amazing how many compliments I got on the appearance of my nose. People thought I changed my hair style and they told me I look great, but they did not know I did my nose. I love my new nose and I feel more self confident about myself."

If a minor is considering Plastic and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Corbin recommends they give it a lot of serious consideration, speak with their parents and seek a professional opinion from a medical expert like their family doctor.

Once the young patient and their parents have educated themselves they should consult a board certified plastic surgeon. In some cases with patients under the age of 18, Dr. Corbin also recommends psychological help before plastic surgery.

According to Dr. Corbin, "Plastic surgery at any age is an important decision. I try to give all my patients as much information about their surgery and the risks involved so they can make an intelligent and informed decision."

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